A Letter from December 7th, 2011

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A Letter from the Past

I don’t recall the specifics of it, but I guess I was bored at work sometime last December and stumbled across an intriguing little site by the name of FutureMe. Much like the time capsules I’m sure some of us had to bury as part of a school project in our youth, this site lets us put something away for a time so that we can rediscover it sometime in the future.

In this case, ‘the future’ was exactly 365 days from when I typed the letter at my cubicle in downtown Sydney. And if the post I would write about my battle with depression around a month later isn’t an indication of just what a low point in my life this was – reading this letter a year on certainly puts it into perspective.

Sitting in a crowded Paulaner Brewhaus in Nanjing surrounded by Filipino singers and beside my beautiful girlfriend, it was gratifying to not only read the letter from a much more exotic locale than Castlereagh Street, Sydney; but also to read it from a much better place emotionally.

Making new friends at Paulaner Brewhaus in Nanjing
Making new friends at Paulaner Brewhaus in Nanjing. One year on from writing the letter to my future self.

2012 has been a remarkably good year for me. It might not have reached the dizzying heights (and occasional lows, I must remember) of my time in South Korea in 2008-09, but it’s been a year I sorely needed after the crushing lows of 2011. Here’s hoping the letter I write this year will find 2013 Chris even better placed to achieve his dreams.

The Letter

I thought it would be fun to paste the letter below and comment on which parts of it came true or did not. You’ll find the letter in quotation and my responses in the standard text.

Dear FutureMe,

Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, you’ve found some sense of happiness and contentment in your life.

Whether you’re off exploring some new country (Japan or China?) or you’ve found something in Australia that gives you a greater sense of purpose, I hope you’ve found contentment.

I am so pleased to say that I did get to read this letter from a place of far greater happiness than where I was when I wrote it. My life in China isn’t perfect and there are definitely improvements that could be made, but the days in which I wake up smiling and go to bed smiling far outnumber the days that I don’t.

I’ve spent a good portion of the year (from March 26th until present) exploring China, although perhaps not as often as I should have. To date, Xinjiang remains my only really adventurous jaunt outside of my comfort zone. Although there have been fun weekend trips to Shanghai, Lianyungang, and Changzhou along the way.

If you’re not dating some gorgeous model or a girl who makes you deliriously happy, I hope you’ve at least managed some casual sex over the past twelve months. Aussie girls can’t all be that difficult.

Funny thing: Australian girls are that difficult. At least for me. To date I’ve slept with a single Australian woman – putting my country of birth in such illustrious company as South Africa and New Zealand when it comes to landing a little somethin’ somethin’.

But I did manage to find a pretty damned hot girl. Hell, I convinced her to move to China. Score one for me, eh?

Posing on Sanibel Island in Florida
Posing on Sanibel Island in Florida

How did Aussie on the Road turn out? Did you make bank on it? Did you have a good time in Fiji with the boys?

Fiji never did eventuate, which meant all four of us pissed $300 up against the wall when we ambitiously booked our five nights accommodation at Mango Bay on the Coral Coast. Our dreams of recreating the early days and debauchery of 2011 were dashed by the real world: the cost of flying from China to Fiji and the difficulty we all had in getting time off work to make it happen.

Boys in Fiji
I missed the chance to catch up with Grant again in Fiji, but did see him at a wedding in Chicago.

But part one of that statement has definitely come true. Aussie on the Road has had a watermark year – at one point bringing in over $2000 in a single month. That lofty record hasn’t really been threatened since, but I’m still lucky enough to bring in semi-regular income from the site to supplement my fast paced life of video games, sleeping in, and other such excitement.

More than anything, I hope that as you read this you can remember how dissatisfied with things you were a year ago and how much better off things are now. I hope you’re looking better, writing more prolifically, and smiling more often.

I can’t really recall just how low I must have felt when writing this last year. One of the funny things about depression is that – when times are good – you tend to forget just how awful you felt most of the time. I have vague memories of calling in sick from work a lot and sleeping most of my weekends away, but cannot call up those feelings of isolation and dread that prompted my withdrawal from the world. That’s probably a good thing.

And while I might not look better (my weight never really recovered from five weeks of gluttony in the US), I’m definitely smiling a lot more often and writing as prolifically as I had been last year. 2012 has been pretty good to me.

And I hope you’re doing it on the back of a Knights/Jets double

Well, fuck. Neither of those things happened.

Looking Back

A year isn’t a lot of time in the grander scheme of our lives, but how much things can change really amazes me. If you’d told the Chris who wrote that letter that he’d:

  • Be living in China
  • Dating a gorgeous girl he had been chatting online with at the time
  • Making money from his website
  • Have traveled to the United States for a second time
  • Be a lead role in a Chinese sitcom
  • Feature in a Men of Travel Blogging Calendar

He’d have shaken his head and laughed at you.

Xinjiang restaurant, Kashgar
Making new friends while visiting Kashgar/Kashi in Xinjiang, China

As I wrote that letter in late 2011, my most ambitious plan was to return to school and hopefully get a promotion at work. Fiji was my loftiest travel goal and the most romance I had in my life was thirty seconds of drunken making out with a co-worker in the photo booth at a work Christmas party.

How things change.

I can’t help but wonder what I’ll be doing when I read the next letter.

Your Say

If you could write a letter to yourself and post it into the future, what kind of things would you say? Rather than just share it here, why not head over to FutureMe and do it for yourself? I certainly got a kick out of it.

 

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12 comments

  1. So happy that 2012 grew into something gnarly and amazing. Seems like things are unfolding the way they should. Great post and I’ll be checking this site out too!

  2. I love FutureMe! I’ve been writing letters to myself since 2008. I have this ‘tradition’ now where I’ll write myself a letter in the beginning of a new year, saying where I am in life and what I hope to achieve within the next year, and send it to myself every Dec 31. It’s so much fun to open on the last day of the year and see how my hopes and expectations turned out for those 12 months!

  3. Clever of you to write a letter to yourself.. I’ll say you’re having an awesome year. Glad we got to meet you, and sorry the US isn’t contributing much to it.. your weight that is, lol. What will you write in the next letter??!

  4. Will definitely do this I think this is a great idea, glad to see it al went your way. i do worry about if it goes the other way, what if your life is worse than when you wrote the letter. Then it might just make you sad. Then again that might just push you to make it better again 🙂

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